Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Workout in bed

This is kind of a weird topic. I don't know how I ended up browsing videos on working out in bed but I did and found this one most interesting.

  1. She's well fit
  2. She's excellent talking to the camera, no uhms and ahhs, even though she's clearly embarrassed and doing strenuous activity.
  3. The exercises don't look particularly complicated but with all the repetitions would result in a great full body workout.
  4. It looks like a far less boring workout than doing situps and pushups or jogging.
  5. There's no special equipment required
  6. When you're done you can just collapse and fall asleep
We don't currently workout at all, but we both have some pregnancy weight to get rid of. The fact that these are so simple means that we might actually do them.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

10 minute lunch - Tomato Basil Pasta

This is a really quick and fresh tasting meal that's perfect for when you're short on time, low on ingredients and it's hot outside. It's light and contains no meat. It's also a great way to use up my overabundance of basil and the single ripe tomato from my plant. My tomato plant is only producing one tiny tomato at a time while my basil has become a veritable shrub.

Friday, July 22, 2011

What to do if you can't pay rent

Rent is one of the biggest expenses for most people, for a freelancer like me it could be from 40% to 110% of my monthly income depending on how busy I've been. If you take a look around the blog, you can see we've already cut costs to a minimum wherever possible. Rent is a fixed monthly expense. Or is it?

If you can't pay rent there are a few things you can do:
  • Make more money - HA HA ! If only it was so easy!
    • I have 11 revenue sources and work in an industry that expects everything for free
  • Go further into debt - Use a cash advance on your CC. BAD IDEA!
  • Get assistance - Your Province/State may have a similar program.
    • I just got my approval for the BC Rental Assistance Program to get $325 back each month based on a laughably low 2010 income and current rent of $880
    • You have to fax or mail a ton of documents, I think it was 60 sheets including:
      • complete tax return for each person
      • bank statements for previous month for all accounts and each person (I used screenshots from online banking)
      • Social Insurance Numbers
      • Photocopy of birth certificates
      • Notice of Rent Increase
    • Mailing this stuff was really making me nervous about the risk of identity theft.
    • It took 7 weeks to get a reply and that was the approval letter.
  • Ask to have it lowered - Each year the landlord is allowed to increase the rent by a small percent. It wouldn't hurt to negotiate to keep it the same. 
    • This was my Plan B, since: 
      • A) The apartment and utilities did not improve throughout the past year
      • B) They have not done any of the repairs I've requested other than changing lightbulbs one time
      • C) It would cost them more to find a new tenant, do all the paper work, clean & paint the apartment (which wasn't done when we moved in !?)
      • D) There's a good chance I'm the only one in the building that even gave it a second thought/would have the balls to ask
    • Basically they cash in on you being too lazy to move again. After a certain point it becomes cheaper to move. When an $800 apartment costs $950 after a few years without increasing in value, what's the point?
  • Sublet - Subletting is when a tenant leases all or part of the property to someone. If you have an extra room and don't mind sharing the space this can be a good way to save on rent. It wouldn't work for us but could work for a single guy or girl or couple with no kids but lots of space. This requires a lot of trust.
    • Finding a good room mate might require an extensive interview process.
    • Your landlord may be allowed to increase your rent based on increased occupants, if it is allowed at all. 
    • You will have to inform your landlord or property manager of the details for the room mate.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Etsy Shop

My Etsy shop is finally up and running! I've only got 10 items up so far but hope to have a couple more ready tomorrow and add at least 1 every day.

Go check it out!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

We made pizza

don't be hatin'.

Thin crust. Pizza 1 - Roast chicken breast, red onion, orange tomato, ceasar dressing. Pizza 2 - Ham, red onion, orange pepper.
The dough was frozen since May 29th and that actually made it easier to work with.It stretched thinner than ever before and the chicken one got a bit too crispy.
There were no survivors.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ghetto laundry and other things that have been happening this week

I've gotten really far behind in laundry, to the point that we ran out of underwear and clean towels. Not for lack of trying, our building only has 2 washers for everybody to share and one of them is out of order and has been for a week. So I did a load of tub laundry 2 days ago and then I didn't bother to take out any more money for the washing machines. And today I did another load of tub laundry. And in 2 more days I guess I'll do another. It's not really that bad, I'm still 2 loads behind, the towels and sheets and a bunch of clothes are still piled in the bedroom.

I'll probably continue to do this, it will be easier once I get through the pile and can do smaller amounts so my poor drying rack isn't overburdened. It's a lot harder to get the clothes as dry as a spin cycle in the washer would just by wringing them out.

Plus saving the money is good, our laundry costs will be going from about $50 a month to $0 a month.

I got another surprise cheque for $400! I forgot about the quarterly HST return! So that and the MSP return are going onto the credit card and taking a nice big dent out of it!

Mail seems to be moving now and I finally got the clips I ordered at the beginning of June. Still waiting on my business cards, the only thing that is holding up the opening of my Etsy shop.

This week I also made Alice a cute pajama dress using an old t-shirt of mine using this tutorial from Nap Time Crafters. I didn't bother with cinching the waist or adding flowers since it was just for jammies. She promptly barfed on it so it's somewhere in the massive laundry pile. We did manage to get a photo of it first!

We're having giant Chicken Caesar salads for dinner. I made my own croutons because I needed to use up a quarter loaf of no knead bread from a couple days ago. I used Pioneer Woman's recipe. I love this woman, she's awesome. I've made tons of recipes that she's posted.

I guess that's it for today, have to try to get the baby beast to sleep.

The no-sleep cry thingy

We've tried The No-Cry Sleep Solution
and we've tried The No-Cry Nap Solution
with marginal success.

Some days only Go the F**k to Sleep is appropriate.

I'm sure Alice will figure out how to sleep on her own one day but until then you'll be able to pick us out in a crowd as the couple with the baggy eyes and snot stained shirts.

If your kid goes to sleep at 5:30pm, we hate you.

Why couldn't we have been blessed with a narcoleptic child!?

*please note the not-so-clever use of affiliate links

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Productive day today!

Alice and I have been sick for a week now and I was finally feeling up to doing stuff again today. Jon had a studio setup and was gone for a good part of the day making $150 so I accomplished the following things:

  • put away and washed dishes
  • made 4 sets of receiving blankets and cloth wipes to sell on Etsy
  • started a batch of No Knead bread
  • baked a spice cake
  • nearly finished making Alice a pajama dress out of one of my old t-shirts but it's late now so I'll finish it tomorrow
  • made dinner
  • made simple syrup
It's still a bit of a disaster in here, the floors and bathroom need to be done and I'm really far behind on laundry. The bread has to be baked first thing in the morning and I haven't gone for another jog because of the lovely fever and aches I had. Also have to go get groceries tomorrow too and go to the bank.

We got a surprise cheque for $605 the other day. We got repaid for our MSP which we really didn't expect, we just thought we wouldn't have to pay it anymore when we applied for medical coverage.

I managed to do 7 headbands in the past couple days as well, we're just waiting on my cards to arrive and then I can finally open my Etsy shop for business after over a month. Yay!

My goal is to make at least one thing to list every day, even if it's just something small.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Ten Worst Budget Destroyers

A lot of families struggle with low income and inflexible budgets. An emergency can quickly drain your savings and set you back several years paying off your credit cards. I've listed a few things that will absolutely destroy your carefully balanced budget but unfortunately are unavoidable and inevitable expenses.

1. Sickness and injury - If you or your young child are sick you can't go to work. Lost wages.
2. The death of a friend or family member - These situations usual mean you drop everything to be with family for a week or more. Travel, lost wages, funeral costs, you have to cover this somehow.
3. Broken eyeglasses - Eye glasses are expensive! If you lose them or drop them the wrong way, well you're out $200 or more.
4. Public service strikes - The recent Canada Post strike has resulted in delayed assistance cheques and late bill payment, Public transit strikes could mean you have to take a cab to work if you can't find a carpool.
5. Weddings - Your friend invites you to their wedding. Do you have extra money for a gift?
6. Birthdays/showers/parties - These come up several times a year, can you afford to go?
7. Car repairs and traffic tickets - Cars need regular maintenance and you can plan for that. A major repair can be a huge setback. Watch where you park and remember to feed the meter, it's way cheaper than a ticket.
8. A Massive Cell Phone Charge - We've all got horror stories of brutal phone charges. Get off a contract and onto a fixed monthly all inclusive plan as soon as possible to avoid these ridiculous fees.
9. Moving - This can be tough. If your apartment costs too much you can move to something cheaper but you'll need to pay for the moving costs and usually 2 months of rent up front. Calculate the costs, is it worth it?
10. Major Appliance replacement - Oven, fridge, washing machine, air conditioner etc. Who knows when they'll break down, when they do it'll hurt your budget.

There you have it. The Ten worst things to happen to your budget.
Got a good story about budget devastation? Let us know in the comments.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Scrimpulous recommends cook books

Here is a short list of the cook books we have owned and loved or want to buy.


TV Chefs

From Great Food Bloggers

We're Still Here

Haven't posted in a while, we've had a sick baby here so not much as gotten done. Now I have her plague as well. Yesterday started out great, I was up early and baked bread and actually went for a jog! I wasn't feeling well but attributed it to lack of sleep. Around noon I ran out of steam and had a nap. I woke up with a fever, chills and a congested head. Fun times. I'm still sick so I'm not going to do anything for probably another day, just lay around and hope to get better.

Etsy shop is still not up.

That is all.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The challenge ended. Now what?

In June we challenged ourselves to use only $200 for groceries. We did it no problem and saved at least $220. I really wish we did it months ago. Going forward we're going to continue the $200 grocery budget and reduce it further if possible.
The next step, what we're focusing on this month is efficiency and managing our time more wisely. We always have a to-do list but we rarely ever complete all the tasks. A lot of our time is wasted thinking about what to do next, procrastinating and doing things. I've been reading things from Ramit Sethi and Tim Ferris and I intend to implement them right away.
I'll get into those things later in the month as they are tested, let's get back to the groceries for a minute. Below is a short list of steps we used to achieve our goal. We will have a blog post for each topic coming up.

How we saved $200+ on groceries last month
  1. Meal plan
  2. Shopping list
  3. Smaller portions
  4. Track spending